Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton was deemed the winner of Monday night’s presidential debate by 62% of voters who tuned in to watch, while just 27% said Republican Donald Trump had a better night, according to a latest CNN/ORC Poll.
The poll said the result was similar to Mitt Romney’s dominant performance over President Barack Obama in the first 2012 presidential debate.
Voters who watched said Clinton expressed her views more clearly than Trump and had a better understanding of the issues by a margin of more than 2-to-1.
Clinton also was seen as having done a better job addressing concerns voters might have about her potential presidency by a 57% to 35% margin, and as the stronger leader by a 56% to 39% margin.
The gap was smaller on which candidate appeared more sincere and authentic, though still broke in Clinton’s favour, with 53% saying she was more sincere to 40% who felt Trump did better on that score. Trump topped Clinton 56% to 33% as the debater who spent more time attacking their opponent, the poll showed.
Although the survey suggested debate watchers were more apt to describe themselves as Democrats than the overall pool of voters, even independents who watched deemed Clinton the winner, 54% to 33% who thought Trump did the best job in the debate.
About half in the poll said the debate did not have an effect on their voting plans, 47% said it did not make a difference, but those who said they were moved by it tilted in Clinton’s direction, 34% said the debate made them more apt to vote for Clinton, 18% more likely to back Trump.
On the issues, the voters said Clinton would do a better job handling foreign policy, 62% to 35%, and most thought she would be the better candidate to handle terrorism, 54% to 43% who preferred Trump.
But on the economy, the split was much closer, with 51% saying they favoured Clinton’s approach to 47% who preferred Trump.
Overall, 55% of the voters said they did not think Trump would be able to handle the job of president, 43% said they thought he would.
Asessments of Trump’s attacks on Clinton were sharply split by gender, with 58% of men seeing them as fair compared with 44% of women who watched the debate.
The CNN/ORC post-debate poll includes interviews with 521 registered voters who watched the Monday night’s debate. Results among debate-watchers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Respondents were originally interviewed as part of a September 23-25 telephone survey of a random sample of Americans, and indicated they planned to watch the debate and would be willing to be re-interviewed when it was over.